In December 2015 Marrickville Council gave “in-principle support for a proposal to redevelop parts of Tempe Reserve.”
Sydney Olympic Football Club submitted a proposal that would require “a major upgrade of the existing sports fields (including improved drainage and new turf), a new synthetic soccer field replacing the bowling greens, and additional community facility space.”
The former Jets Sport Club House will be demolished & a new club be built with a large grandstand. There are two names in the proposal – the ‘Riverside Promenade Centre’ & the “Cadigal Building Sports & Leisure Centre.” I cannot work out which is the name of the Sydney Olympic Club building. Acording to the proposal, this two-storey building will have a café, a bistro, leisure facilities, community rooms, change rooms & amenities.
Looking at the proposal it appears that 19 to 25 Norfolk Island pines that line Holbeach Avenue on the side of the club are to be removed. Not good at all. These pines are iconic to Tempe Reserve & make a grand entrance. These trees were planted by Marrickville Council when Tempe Reserve was created & are much loved by the community.
It also appears that the footprint of the building will go right up to the road & includes the current car park on the southern side of Tempe Reserve. Patrons will be required to walk to & from the car park near the point. If my reading of the proposal is correct, loss of car parking when building a larger establishment is contradictory.
It also appears that some mature Fig trees beside the promenade will be removed. If I am correct, I presume the trees will be removed to improve water views.
For the community who use this park for recreation the loss of any of these trees will be terrible. For the wildlife it will be even worse. I don’t think it is necessary. Use the footprint of the old Jets Club land, but do not encroach into the community park. Marrickville municipality has the least green space in Australia, so this will not be a small loss. Marrickville Council is already taking green space away from Steel Park to build a childcare centre. I am not against childcare centres or indeed the Sydney Olympic Club, as I will likely attend games, but the incremental loss of green space concerns me.
There will be a FIFA Star rated plastic football pitch & tall grandstand overlooking the field.
There is also a FIFA Star rated football pitch at Arlington Oval in Dulwich Hill, which soared from an original cost of $1-million to $2.2-million & was paid for by the ratepayers of Marrickville. There was massive community opposition to installing this plastic pitch at Arlington Oval with, as far as I can tell, no change of heart since the work has been completed.
There will also be a “repositioned Local Provenance Garden.” I am not sure whether this refers to ‘The Cooks River Valley Garden.’ It appears untouched in the proposal, but I have no knowledge of any Local Provenance Garden within the old Jets Club site, so am assuming Marrickville Council means to relocate The Cooks River Valley Garden. If this is indeed the case, it will mean a loss of quite a few mature trees, plus the loss of rate-payers’ money spent refurbishing this garden in 2015. It will also mean a loss of important habitat, as this area is full of birds & other wildlife being one of the few places that has trees & an under-storey in Tempe Reserve. It will also mean that the Club takes land from what is now community space. I sincerely hope I am wrong.
The Tempe Playing Fields will also receive an upgrade – drainage, irrigation, & returfing (decanting). I googled decanting in terms of soil & found this – “Dirt and water – muddy water can be cleared up by decanting. The soil will sink to the bottom of the tube allowing the clear water to be poured off.” See – http://abt.cm/1ZB7BCQ
There will be five new plastic cricket pitches installed in the playing fields. Marrickville Council will have a “detailed annual turf maintenance program.”
Unfortunately, plastic turf for the playing fields is still on the agenda – ‘Stage 2 – Synthetic pitch Business Cade analysis subject to Council’s direction & business case analysis.”
Plastic playing fields here would be a major ecological issue for both the Cooks River & the Alexandra Canal with chemical runoff from cleaning the turf, as well as loss of food for all the ground-eating parrots & other birds & wildlife that rely on this great expanse of grass. If I were Council I would say no to any requests for plastic playing fields because the only sensible policy should be “we love our river & will do all we can to protect it.” Huge expanses of plastic so near the river speak of institutionalized indifference towards its environment and the life it supports. I am happy plastic playing fields are not going to happen at this stage & I hope the amalgamated Council will prioritize the health of the river & the Alexandra Canal.
One plastic playing field here will be more than enough destructive aspect of the project & I sincerely hope that all water & chemical runoff from this playing field is collected on-site & not allowed to run into the Cooks River approximately 15-metres away. How they will clean it is beyond my knowledge. If the runoff is allowed to go into the river, the pollution would have a significant impact on the water quality & possibly the wildlife.
I found this about the history of the Sydney Olympic Football Club’s locations –
“It is the culmination of a long journey which began at Wentworth Park in Glebe in 1957. Since then, thousands of supporters have followed the team around Sydney, to the Sydney Sports Ground, Erskineville Oval, Pratten Park, St. George Stadium, Leichhardt Oval, SFS, Belmore Sports Ground, Shark Park, Kogarah Oval, and I have probably also missed a couple of venues along the way. We have also had a couple of cracks at a social club, the last of which was closed down 15 years ago at Hurlstone Park.” See – http://bit.ly/1QXHxAF
My one question is who pays for this? Is it the ratepayers of Marrickville, soon to be amalgamated with Ashfield & Leichhardt or does the Club itself foot the bill, which I estimate will be a multi-million dollar cost?
Unfortunately, the published plans that I have seen are very quiet about details regarding the size of what is proposed to be built, what will be lost, what it will cost, who pays what, what the operating business model may be, and whether there is actually a business case somewhere that says it is a necessary & viable proposition for that area. Marrickville Council media release says there will be community consultation early next year, so perhaps we will see this information then.
You can download a copy of the proposal here – http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/Global/News/TempeReserveDec2015.pdf
4 February 2016. I was sent this assessment of the proposal by someone who lives locally, but not in Tempe. This person has picked up some very important points, which significantly build on my understanding of the plans. Therefore, I decided to add this assessment so a fuller picture can be given of what is planned for Tempe Reserve.
“The existing proposal and maps particularly are deceptive. The existing parking lot is to be taken over by buildings—the proposal does not make clear that the additional parking is going to come from outside the existing site—around the large playing field where the synthetic cricket wickets are to be – this will eat into green space around the edges and tear up three-quarters of the Norfolk Island pines in the avenue. One has to scrutinise the maps very carefully to see this.
Moreover, the proposal involves a “repositioned” Local Provenance Garden—this is doublespeak for “tear up existing garden and take this public open space for football stadium.”
The existing garden is not well cared for but will any new one receive the necessary financial help from the developer for the crucial task of maintenance and weeding in particular, over the long term? I doubt it, as this point hasn’t been considered in the current plan. The current record on care of these Tempe gardens is appallingly bad. In any case, the proposal involves ripping up and taking over open space and turning it into a football field which people will pay to enter.
The number of cricket wickets, as it is stated by the proposal will be reduced from 6 to 5 and the introduction of synthetic pitches.
The provision for traffic and parking is virtually non-existent in the proposal. I’m not a local resident but if I were I’d be hopping mad. The sketches of what the site will look like are cleverly designed to minimise the potential visual impact of the proposed facility– but the architectural drawings make clear that the stadium, for that is what it would be, is twice the height of the existing trees.
A further factor is the failure of planning cooperation with other councils. Just a few minutes away is the St George Football stadium, which is in great need of refurbishment. Plans are extant for the development of the St George Stadium in a way that will also remove open space. But why build two soccer stadiums in the lower Cooks River Valley?
I just see so much creeping semi-privatisation and encroachment of built environment upon the “natural” world in the valley.”